Against Associates of the Obese
Research conducted by:
Mikki Hebl and Laura Mannix
Case study prepared by: Emily
Obesity is a major stigma in our society. People who are obese
face a great deal of prejudice and discrimination. For example,
Roehling (1999) showed that obese people experience a lot of
discrimination in the workplace (e.g., they are less likely to
be hired and get lower wages). We know that people who are obese
are stigmatized, but what about people who are somehow associated
with an obese person? Neuberg et al. (1994) found that friends
of gay men and lesbians suffer from "stigma by association".
Perhaps the negative effects of the obesity stigma can also spread
to other people. This study seeks to examine how the stigma of
obesity can spread to a job applicant of average weight.
As part of a larger study, participants had to rate how qualified
a particular job applicant was. This applicant was sitting by
a woman. The researchers manipulated the following two variables:
the weight of the woman and the relationship between the woman
and the applicant. The woman was either obese or of average weight.
This woman was also portrayed as being the applicant's girlfriend
or a woman simply waiting to participate in a different experiment.
Questions to Answer
male applicants who are seated next to an obese woman rated as
less qualified for a job? Are applicants who are seated next to
their girlfriend rated differently from applicants seated next
to a woman with whom they do not have an intimate relationship?
Finally, does the effect of the type of relationship differ depending
on the weight of the woman?
study only looked how at how an obese woman seated next to a male
job applicant could affect qualification ratings. Future research
could address other gender combinations.
Descriptions of Variables
||The weight of the woman sitting next to the job applicant
1 = obese, 2 = average weight
||Type of relationship between the job application and the
woman seated next to him
1 = girlfriend, 2 = acquaintance (waiting for another experiment)
||Larger numbers represent higher professional qualification
Hebl, M. R., & Mannix, L. M.
(2003). The weight of obesity in evaluating others: A mere
proximity effect. Personality and Social
Psychology Bulletin, 29, 28-38.
Neuberg, S. L., Smith, D. M., Hoffman,
J. C., & Russell, F. J. (1994). When we observe stigmatized
and "normal" individuals interacting: Stigma
by association. Personality and Social
Psychology Bulletin, 20, 196-209.
Roehling, M. (1999). Weight-based
discrimination in employment: Psychological and legal aspects. Personnel
Psychology, 52, 969-1016.
about this research
discrimination in employment
- What is/are the independent variable(s) in this study?
What is/are the dependent variable(s)?
- What is the mean rating of job qualification? What
is the standard deviation? Does "qualified" appear
to be normally distributed?
- If a participant from this sample were picked at random,
what is the probability that he/she would have rated
the qualification of the applicant as 7 or higher?
- Pretend the distribution of "qualified" is
normally distributed (with same mean and standard deviation
you computed in #2). Now what is the probability of selecting
a participant who gave a rating of 7 or higher?
- Describe the design of this study. What type of ANOVA
would you use? How many factors are there, and how many
levels does each factor have?
- Make an interaction plot of the data. Based on this
graph, do you think there are main effects? Do you think
there is an interaction?
- Conduct a 2-way ANOVA.
- What is the best estimate of the population variance?
- Look at the main effect of "weight".
- What are the marginal means?
- What is the sum of squares for "weight"?
- Is the main effect of "weight" significant?
- Look at the main effect of "relate".
- What are the marginal means?
- What is the sum of squares for "relate"?
- Is the main effect of "relate" significant?
- Look at the interaction between "weight" and "relate".
- How many degrees of freedom does the interaction
- Is the interaction between "weight" and "relate" significant?
- What do these results mean?